Alternative models, social loop gain

[From Rick Marken (940527.0820)]

Bill Cunningham (940526.0800) --

Your hypothesis that I was controlling for IT having relevance to PCT was
false, as stated. It correctly identified my interest, but not purpose --
which was to enter into layered protocol, at the conclusion of which my
perception of your understanding of IT would have changed.

One reason I left the net for a time was because I was told (or it was
implied) that the mere possibility of my posting criticism of alternative
models of behavior stifled people's willingness to present and discuss these
models. Yet, while I was gone there was very little (none?) discussion of
alternative models anyway. I find this reluctance to discuss alternative
models very puzzling. The only explanation I can think of (and I can't
believe it's right) is that proponents of alternative models are simply
afraid of careful, reasoned and sometimes even empirical criticism of their
models. These models seem to be like religious beliefs that are extremely
personally important to their advocates who, therefore, don't want them
subjected to intense scrutiny.

Anyway, Bill C. broached the topic of "layered protocols" which, I believe, is
a model; it may also be a phenomenon. I don't know much about this model but
it is apparently either an alternative or a supplement to a control theory
model of human conversational interaction (basically, the phenomenon that is
occuring on this net). Thus, it seems like the layered protocol model would
be an excellent topic for discussion and evaluation on CSG-L.

Why don't we discuss it? Not only is layered protocol an "alternative"
(though not necessarily conflicting) model, but we also have it's developer,
Martin Taylor, right here on the net. By expending a few posts on the layered
protocol model we could achieve a number of (to me) extremely worthwhile
purposes: 1) we could learn about the layered protocol model 2) we could
show that we (PCTers) are willing to consider other models of human behavior
besides PCT and (by doing 2) 3) get me off the hook as the person who stifles
discussion of alternative models.

So -- what is the layered protocol model? What phenomenon does it explain?
How has it been tested?

Oded Maler (940526)--

I just want to note that when the control systems are more complex,
and when they are embedded in a social/organizational context, the
meaning of energy and loop-gain are not as simple. You can say to
your wife something very nasty, or insult someone in public, that
will have much stronger effect then, say, mild pushing which is
more costly energetically. The same goes for social organization:
you can order the killing/execution of a person by a phone call or
by signing a document if you are in the correct position.

This is getting ridiculous; I agree with everything you say these days ;-).

This is an excellent point. One person's loop gain (such as a dictator's)
can become terrifyingly (or wonderfully -- especially of you are that person)
large when many people have adopted a goal of selecting their own goals based


on what that one person (the dictator) says.